kevin_oconnell

Kevin O’Connell (son of Gus) began training and racing in the 1990’s with Skip Barber Racing in the open wheel Formula Dodge Series at tracks such as Laguna Seca, Road America and California Speedway.

After the completion of an undergraduate degree from Cal State Northridge in Political Science (pre-law) and earning a Masters Degree in Business (MBA) from Pepperdine University in Malibu, California, Kevin made the decision to move away from open wheel racing and pursue NASCAR and Sports Car racing as the future and to campaign the #59, his father’s racing number.

This era of racing was centered initially in Southern California and focused on NASCAR’s local and regional premier series. Kevin began racing in the NASCAR Ultra Wheels Super Truck series and the NASCAR Superlate Model Series with Scott Calvin Racing at Irwindale Speedway in the greater Los Angeles area also known as The Inland Empire.

In 2003, Kevin began testing in NASCAR’s Southwest Tour Series for both oval track and road course racing. The team campaigned a two car team in the NASCAR Irwindale Speedway Superlate Model Series until the end of the 2005 racing season. Throughout 2005 and into 2006, the team also competed in the American Stock Car Challenge (ASC), a western United States series that competes exclusively on road courses at tracks such as California Speedway, Phoenix International Speedway and Infineon Raceway.

In 2006 and into 2007, Kevin and a team led by racers and high school friends Ronnie Norwood and Roy Montgomery began racing in North America in the internationally recognized Grand-Am Rolex Series in a Porsche GT-3 Cup car competing in select races at Daytona International Speedway, Watkins Glen International, Barber Motorsports Park and Infineon Raceway.

In December of 2006, the team won the west coast’s most prestigious endurance race “The 25 Hours of Thunderhill” and in 2007 finished top ten (10th) in the Grand-Am Rolex Series 24 Hours of Daytona on their first attempt in the team’s factory built Porsche GT-3 Cup Car with featured drivers Kevin O’Connell and Kevin Roush.

In 2008, the team competed in both the Grand-Am Rolex Series and in NASCAR with the K & N Pro Series and Nationwide Series. In the Rolex Series, drivers Kevin O’Connell and Kevin Roush finished 10th at Mexico City, Mexico, 6th at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca and 5th as the top finishing Porsche at the renowned Six Hours of Watkins Glen.

For 2009, the team was moved to Thomasville, North Carolina in collaboration with Rick Ware Racing (RWR) and Kevin raced in select races in both the NASCAR Xfinity Series and the Grand Am Rolex Series while adding SVRA/HSR vintage racing events to the schedule at tracks such as Road America, Wisconsin, Watkins Glen International, New York and Circuit of the Americas in Austin Texas.

In 2012, Kevin with Co-driver and NASCAR Camping World Trucks Series/GunBroker.com stand-out driver Jason White raced at the inaugural Rolex Series – Brickyard Grand Prix at the pinnacle of motor racing tracks, (IMS) Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

For the 2013 season, Kevin joined the west coast team of Jackson Racecars of Palmdale, California as the primary driver of the #59 Toyota Southwest SuperLate Series (SWS) road course stock car and ran a full season of races, including the Winter Classic at Willow Springs International Raceway.

In June of 2013, Kevin became the 1st American racing driver to enter and road race in NASCAR Europe in the NASCAR Whelan Euro stock car series at the “American SpeedFest” event held at the Brands Hatch Circuit in Great Britain. In the NASCAR Xfinity Series road course races, Kevin raced at both Road America (22nd) and the Mid Ohio Sports Car Course in the inaugural road course race in Lexington, Ohio.

In 2014, the team featuring Kevin as the primary driver competed for the North American Pro-Am championship in the IMSA Blancpain Lamborghini Super Trofeo Racing Series with Rick Ware Racing driving for both the #9 Lamborghini of Houston and the #15 Lamborghini of Uptown Toronto LP 570-4 racecars. Kevin finished 2nd in championship points with two victories and seven podium finishes.

In NASCAR, Kevin drove for Rick Ware Racing in the NASCAR Xfinity series road course races at Road America in the Gardner Denver 200 (finishing 3rd and named Mobil 1 Driver of the Race), and at Watkins Glen International in the Zippo 200.

In June of 2014, Kevin and father Gus entered as co-drivers entered and competed in the 2014 Great Race with a 1959 Chevrolet Apache Fleetside pick-up truck. The event lasted seven days and began in Ogunquit, Maine and finished in The Villages, Florida. Team members included family members Fred and Denny Cassin, and close family friends Chris Bensabat and Bill Kohlmeyer, as navigator for the race.

In the 2014 Toyota Southwest Superlates Series, Kevin was the winner of the 3rd Annual SWS Winter Classic race held at Willow Springs International Raceway as run in the track’s original 1953 high speed configuration.

In December of 2014, Kevin was the recipient of the 1st annual David M. Jackson Racer’s Achievement Award. This award is given to members of the North American auto racing community that have distinguished achievements in racing and competition and have made leadership contributions to the business of motorsports or have been active in charitable causes through motor racing. As a recipient of the award, Kevin received a seat on the nomination committee for future recipients of the award.

In March of 2015, with the completion of the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series Presented by Mobil 1 race at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, Kevin became the first NASCAR driver to compete in all of NASCAR’s top international racing series (Europe, Mexico and Canada). In addition, Kevin signed with Rick Ware Racing to race in both the NASCAR Xfinity Series and the K & N Pro Series races at Watkins Glen and in the #15 Gemini Southern Chevrolet at Road America.

In August of 2015, Kevin made his debut in the SCCA Trans Am Pro Series finishing 5th in The Next Dimension 100 at Road America driving in the TA2 class in the #83 Ford Mustang for Canada’s Best Racing Team (CBRT).

In February of 2016, Kevin executive produced the debut of Dashub.com in the Powershares QQQ 300 at Daytona International Speedway featuring Rick Ware Racing and past champion driver Jeff Green with veteran crew chief George Church. In June, Kevin and Father Gus entered and competed in the 2016 Great Race (Lincoln Highway-California to Illinois) in a fully restored 1967 Ford Galaxie Convertible. Teammates included Matt Jackson of the Jackson NASCAR racing family of Southern California and uncles Fred & Denny Cassin.

In 2017, Kevin signed with veteran NASCAR team owner Rick Ware of Rick Ware Racing as a road course driver for select events. For the Save Mart 350 scheduled for Sonoma Raceway, Kevin will drive the #15 Premium Motorsports entry for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series event. In the K & N Pro Series, Kevin will drive the #77 for Joe Nava’s Performance P-1 Motorsports.

Again in 2017, O’Connell Racing has entered the annual Great Race campaigning a 1971 LS-5 Corvette with teammate’s former pro baseball player Scott “Dutch” Kimball and Chris Bensabat. Bensabat will begin the race as navigator with Gus driving. Kevin will take over navigator duties on Tuesday in Bowling Green, Kentucky and compete with his father through the finish. The race is from Jacksonville, Florida to Traverse City, Michigan over a period of seven consecutive days.

© 2017  |  O’CONNELL RACING INC.  |  All Rights Reserved